How to Obtain a Passport in the US

How to Obtain a Passport in the US
A passport is an important piece of documentation that you will need to possess in order to travel outside of the U.S. Many people find themselves in situations where a passport is necessary and they do not have one. For example, if you are going on a cruise you will most likely stop at a port that is outside of the U.S., and therefore will need a passport before boarding. Whatever the reason for needing to obtain a passport, bear in mind that the wait time to process the paperwork is approximately four to six weeks.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Proof of citizenship (expired passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, etc.) Proof of present identification Photocopy machine 2 passport photos Application for U.S. Passport (Form DS-11)
  • Proof of citizenship (expired passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, etc.)
  • Proof of present identification
  • Photocopy machine
  • 2 passport photos
  • Application for U.S. Passport (Form DS-11)
Step 1
Download and fill out the Application for U.S. Passport (Form DS-11) that can be found in the reference section. Fill it out in black ink with legible handwriting--if they can't read it, it may delay your application. The DS-11 form can also be obtained from your local acceptance facility or a passport agency. Do not sign it at this time however, as you will need to do that in front of an acceptance agent.
Step 2
Obtain proof of citizenship. A list of documents that will be accepted are as follows (from the U.S. Department of State passport website): previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport; certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state; consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth; naturalization certificate; or certificate of citizenship.
Step 3
Make sure you have acceptable present identification. According to the U.S. Department of State website, this includes: previously issued, undamaged U.S. passport; naturalization certificate; valid driver's license; current government ID (city, state or federal); or current military ID (military and dependents).
Step 4
Make a photocopy of your present identification document. The copy must be on plain white, 8 1/2 x 11" standard paper stock, showing the front and the back of your ID.
Step 5
Take two passport photos. You can't do this yourself--they must be a certain size and standard. Many places offer passport photo services, such as pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS. Check locally to find someone who offers these services.
Step 6
Go to an acceptance facility or a passport agency to submit your passport application. You will need to have your application signed by a proper witness at the agency who will review your documentation, so do not sign it prior to the visit. Once at the agency, give the agent your documentation, sign your application, and pay the application fee (the amounts for the fees can be found in the resources section below).
Step 7
Wait four to six weeks for your passport to arrive in the mail.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you need to expedite the application for any reason, it is possible to pay a premium at your passport agency that will allow you to obtain your passport in much less time (about two weeks).
 
If you need to expedite the application for any reason, it is possible to pay a premium at your passport agency that will allow you to obtain your passport in much less time (about two weeks).

Article Written By Dustin Pitan

Dustin Pitan lives in Orlando, Fla., where he recently graduated from Full Sail University, earning his second bachelor's degree. He holds one in English from St. Cloud University in Minnesota, and one in film making. Pitan has written/co-written and directed a number of short films, which have been successfully produced into short features. He has been published on the site Moviemaniacs.net.

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